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Posts Tagged ‘food’

Vietnam to monitor imported food

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2011 at 7:04 am

Governments and animal health departments will closely inspect any food imports from overseas countries into Vietnam, said the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

In a recent dispatch to provinces and cities around the country, the Ministry has ordered all provincial and municipal governments and relevant agencies, to supervise any animal products imported from foreign countries into Vietnam. As the Tet holiday is quickly approaching, consumption of foreign imports could be very high.

The Ministry has also asked government officials, to closely monitor border crossings, especially the ones like Tan Thanh, in the Northern Province of Lang Son; Cau Treo and Lao Bao in the central province of Ha Tinh; and finally, Quang Tri and Moc Bai, in the southern province of Tay Ninh.


Source: SGGP

Over 100 workers hospitalized after food poisoning

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 4:25 am

More than 100 workers in a Can Tho- based company were hospitalized due to food poisoning on December 23.

The workers suffered stomachache, nausea and vomiting after eating the food. Most of them have already recovered, but 61 people are still being treated in hospital.

The company ordered food from a restaurant in Chau Thanh District, Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang in the neighborhood of Can Tho City.

Each portion of food included meat, braised pork, fried fish and soup, for price of VND9,000. 

Agencies in the province are taking food samples for testing, so that they can investigate the cause of the food poisoning outbreak.

Source: SGGP

Zoellick: G20 must act to stabilize food prices

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 4:12 am

Free markets rather than protectionist polices are the solution to volatile food prices and the G20 should take steps to prioritize the provision of food for the poor, World Bank President Robert Zoellick said.

“The answer to food price volatility is not to prosecute or block markets, but to use them better,” Zoellick wrote in an opinion piece in Thursday’s Financial Times urging G20 leaders to put access to food at the top of its agenda.

“By empowering the poor the G20 can take practical steps toward ensuring the availability of nutritious food,” he wrote.

French President Nicholas Sarkozy will take the presidency of the G20 in 2011. In his column Zoellick set out nine action points to make sure the poorest have access to food. Such steps were needed to ensure global growth and stability, he said.

Food prices hit a record high last month, outstripping levels that prompted riots in 2008 and key grains could climb even further as weather patterns give cause for concern, the UN’s food agency said on Wednesday.

Zoellick said more work was needed to understand the relationship between international prices and local prices in poor countries. In Cambodia the local price of rice has risen by a quarter since mid-2009, while international prices have shed 15 percent.

“Factors such as transport costs, crop types and exchange rates can mean that local prices are delinked from international prices,” he wrote.

“Work could target first those commodities and countries that are most at risk from volatility.”

He also called for an international code of conduct to exempt humanitarian food aid from export bans.

Export restrictions make food price volatility worse. Ideally, countries would not impose any export bans; in 2011 they should at least agree that food for humanitarian purposes be allowed to move more freely,” he wrote.

Other steps include improving supply transparency and long-weather forecasting, creating small humanitarian reserves in disaster-prone regions and providing alternatives to export bans and price fixing.

Risk management products, such as weather insurance or a hedge on energy prices to keep transport and input costs low, should also be considered, he said.

Source: SGGP

Dangerous chemicals have been used in food for years

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 4:05 am

After Chinese media stated that their satay might contain a toxic cancer-causing substance, a number of individuals are now feeling sick after eating the satay.

Chemicals found in Kim Bien Market. Chefs have used these chemicals for years in making food (Photo: SGGP)

Chefs at sidewalk restaurants have used additives and chemicals in food for many years, as buying these chemicals are easy and inexpensive.

A Sai Gon Giai Phong journalist toured one of the biggest wholesale markets in Ho Chi Minh City – Kim Bien Market in District 5.

Chemicals including liquids to bleach, chemicals to create coffee foam and colorings, and chemicals to make chicken and goat meat crispier were found in nylon bags and bottles.

One retailer said that chefs should use one spoonful of these chemicals in order to make the food crispier.

At another shop, the owner said chefs have used additives and spices to make pho (Rice noodle soup with beef) and bun bo (Beef rice noodles).

She stated she sells more than 50 liters of beef to eateries in a week. She said that a one-liter bottle of additives priced at VND250, 000 could be used to cook 100 big pots of rice noodle soup or beef rice noodles.

The situation is much the same at Binh Tay Market in District 6. A shop assistant told a journalist that he uses a red powder in varnishing cooked crab rice noodles. She compared the cost of these chemical to only VND50, 000, while food colorings would cost six times more to buy. 

After the news became public, the Food Hygiene Department in Ho Chi Minh City, told the market management boards not authorize any shop to sell Chinese satay and spices for cooking ‘pot-au-feu’.

However, much Vietnamese food is package in nylon, without any clear indication of its origin and no labeling on the food product were available at several of market stores.

Source: SGGP

Fear of toxic additives in food

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 4:04 am

Medical experts believe one of the causes of cancer in the world is the rampant use of harmful chemicals and additives in food.

As Tet (lunar New Year) holiday approaches, wholesale markets such as Binh Tay, Ben Thanh, An Dong and Kim Bien begin selling jams and dry fruits without labels, giving no indication of their origin and manufacturing base.

Chinese dry fruits packed in nylon bags selling in Binh Tay market (Photo: SGGP)

Shop assistants claim these dry fruits and jams are imported from China but it is not clear whether these foods have been certified by health authorities. These dry fruits could contain toxic substances and are being sold to innocent customers who favor their taste.

Last year the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health (DOH) did a random test of six dry fruit samples from three vendors at the Binh Tay wholesale market in District 6.

The authorities found five samples to contain lead and a banned artificial sweetener, Cyclamate. Tests also showed that melon seeds and chilli powder contained Rhodamine B, a harmful dye suspected of being carcinogenic.

Medics believe that eating food contaminated with lead over a long period of time can cause damage to the nervous system, impair brain function, cause kidney failure and in extreme cases even lead to death.

However, these products continue to sell in markets heedless of their harmful affects on health. Customers are lured by their eye catching and colorful appearance and packaging.

The city DOH has ordered the district 5 People’s Committee to monitor Kim Bien market and identify shops that sell toxic foods, but there has been little success in that area. Besides, chefs preparing food items are not aware of the harmful affects of such chemicals and therefore use them in excess.

Medical experts stress that it is now very important to control the inflow of smuggled chemicals and also prevent banned additives from being imported into the country.

Related article:
Dangerous chemicals have been used in food for years

Source: SGGP

Ministry issues new alert on food safety

In Uncategorized on December 17, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Ministry issues new alert on food safety

QĐND – Friday, December 17, 2010, 20:53 (GMT+7)

The Health Ministry has requested all provinces and cities to strengthen food safety and hygiene activities nationwide by promoting awareness and inspection programmes during the new year festival.

“Consumer demand increases ten-fold during the new year, especially over the traditional holiday period,” said deputy head of the ministry’s Vietnam Food Administration Nguyen Thanh Phong at a press conference in Hanoi Dec. 16.

“To ensure food safety and hygiene during the festive season, we will boost awareness activities targeting food producers, traders and consumers,” he said.

He also added that six inter-sectoral inspection groups would be set up to supervise food safety at markets in Hanoi, HCM City and provinces with border gates.

According to the administration, the country has reported 173 food poisoning cases this year, less than the average annual number of 200 over the last decade. Eighteen cases were reported with 323 people infected during the last quarter of 2010, of which four died due to eating puffer fish.

“Food poisoning is showing signs of reduction as compared with the same period in 2009, however 60 percent of the cases were in domestic outbreaks,” said Phong.

“Most poisoning outbreaks related to poor food preservation or natural toxins found in mushrooms, puffer fish and toads,” added Phong.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

Over 200 workers hospitalized after food poisoning

In Uncategorized on December 17, 2010 at 8:27 am

More than 200 workers of the Sametex International Company Limited were hospitalized due to food poisoning in Long An Province on December 16.

Doctor Vo Cong Luan, director of the Long An General Hospital, said that the workers suffered stomach ache, nausea and vomiting after having lunch and dinner at the company.  Most of them have already regained health, but 65 are still being treated at the hospital.

Agencies in the province are taking food samples for testing, so that they can investigate the cause of the food poisoning outbreak.

Source: SGGP

City to host international food festival

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 9:56 am

An international food festival featuring special dishes of more than 20 countries throughout the country will take place at the 23/9 (September 23) Park in Ho chi Minh City at the end of December, said the organizer,  Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism of the city.

Visitors will have a chance to taste hundreds of dishes of over 20 countries worldwide in the international food festival. (Photo: KK)

Highlights of the event will include a cooking contest, giving visitors a chance to taste special dishes; a display of Vietnamese and world dishes; a new record of a giant banh xeo (Vietnamese rice pancake); music shows; folk games and more.

The opening ceremony will open with a parade and be broadcast live on Ho Chi Minh City Television’s HTV9 channel on December 26.

The food festival will run until January 2.

Source: SGGP

HCMC’s international food festival attracts 24 countries worldwide

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 9:50 am

Over 24 countries around the world will take part in an international food festival to be held in the end of the year, announced the City’s Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism on Tuesday.

The international food festival featuring hundreds of dishes of more than 20 countries will be held in Ho Chi Minh City from December 26 to January 2, 2011. (Photo: KK)The fifth “Taste of the world” festival 2010 will include 60 display booths, which will feature special dishes from around the world. In addition, it will offer a 10-50 percent discount at a certain time of the day (deemed the golden time) which is from 7pm to 9pm on December 31.

On this special night, celebrating the New Year’s Eve, a music performance will be held. 

The event also consists of a cooking contest, giving visitors a chance to taste special dishes from around the world; a display of Vietnamese; a new world record for a giant banh xeo (Vietnamese rice pancake); music shows; folk games and much more.

The opening ceremony will start with a parade and be broadcast live on Ho Chi Minh City Television’s HTV9 channel.

Furthermore, a ceremony welcoming the third million visitors to come the city on December 12 will be held. The tourism sector expects to receive around 3.1 million international tourists this year.

In addition, the Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism will cooperate with the Department of Trade and Industry to organize the “Special promotion month” program offering 5-10 percent discount for visitors from December 15 to January 15, 2011.

Source: SGGP

Banh Xeo – homeland flavored food

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 9:47 am

Out of several well-known Vietnamese traditional foods like Pho (noodles), Cha Gio (mince roll) and Saigon bread; Banh Xeo (sizzling cake) has been chosen to be representative for Vietnamese food in the vote “Ho Chi Minh City – 100 interesting things,” hosted by the city Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism. 

Banh Xeo path

No one can remember how long Banh Xeo been presented in Vietnam’s southern region. Maybe, it was from the 1940s, or the previous century. Banh Xeo is the rice pancake folded in half and filled with shrimp, meat and soya bean sprouts. Originally, Banh Xeo was sold as a popular food in markets from rural to urban areas.


                             Southern Banh Xeo

In the early 1980s, the number of restaurants in Saigon sharply diminished, including those selling Banh Xeo. This was due to many difficulties Vietnam suffered from years of war with both France and the United States.

Not until the middle of the decade, restaurants began selling a kind of cake that looked like Banh Xeo. It was made in much smaller pans, just about one fourth of the southern versions. The ingredients included rice flour, tiny shrimps, half fat and half-lean pork, bean sprouts and onions. The cakes were served with vegetables and prepared nuoc mam (fish sauce) mixed with lemon, garlic and chili.

Most of the sellers were from the central region, the cakes thus were called Banh Xeo Mien Trung (central rice pancakes), and it was a favorite food for many Saigon citizens at that time.

Since the 1990s, southern Banh Xeo returned with famous brand names such as Banh Xeo Dinh Cong Trang and Banh Xeo A Phu in Saigon. By 2007, An La Ghien was born with a large scope and professional service style to introduce southern Banh Xeo and other popular Vietnamese foods.

One year later, Muoi Xiem pancakes from the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho were introduced in HCMC.

Attracting sizzling sounds 

The best time to eat Banh Xeo is when they are hot, straight from the pan, while the heat is still evaporating the yellow of the pancakes. Xeo Xeo (sizzling) is the sound of fried rice batter on hot pans.

             Banh Xeo sizzles on the hot pans

While central Banh Xeo is placed in the center of the hot pan and looks a bit thick, the southern pancake covers a big pan with its edge very thin and crispy, containing hardly any oil.

Besides fresh tiny shrimps, half-fat and half lean meat, bean sprouts and onion, the southern Banh Xeo’s stuffing includes steamed green beans.

Up to each season, southern pancake’s stuffing would be diversified with mushrooms, dien dien (Sesbania bispinosa) flowers, and co hu dua (the youngest pith of a coconut tree top).

The specific characteristic of Banh Xeo is that it is eaten with your hand. Customers tear a piece of the pancake off and wrap it in fresh mustard green leaves together with five to six kinds of herbs, which help to reduce the oiliness. People who eat this food say the mellow aromas of the salt, the sweetness, the sourness and the fat sway them to eat more. Banh Xeo is a great dish to enjoy, especially in rainy days.

Source: SGGP